As a first-time Aunt, I am surprised at how easily my aversions have disappeared. I no longer roll my eyes or complain at the sound of babies fussing. I no longer enrage at the sight of a loose toddler running around. And I don’t flinch when a child comes near me anymore. Now I appreciate the time and effort it takes to raise a child, I recognize how amazing they are, I sympathize with the exhausted looking parents, and I will gladly hold the baby and make them dance. I’m still just a beginner, so I struggle with baby-talk, often switching over to cat-talk inadvertently. This poor child may grow up with the nickname Little Kitty.
I’ve read that infants of all species are born with wide-spaced eyes and large heads because it makes them look appealing to the adults. If the adults think they’re cute, then they’ll take care of them, hence their survival. I prefer to think my conversion is simple: my niece is the most amazing child on the planet. Take that other kids.
There’s a lot we can learn from babies. After all, they are experiencing everything for the first time as fresh-faced impartial humans. They’ll try what we give them and tell us whether they like it or not. They know if they are hungry or tired or need changing, so they’ll sound the alarm. Even if they are just grumpy, they will let us know. Babies can switch from laughing to crying in a blink without any warning just because they feel like it. So why can’t we?
During infancy we all learn to self-soothe, yet at some point in our upbringing we begin to believe that crying is a bad thing. Over time crying turns into a socially unacceptable fuss that inconveniences others. Although crying does cause stress to our body, such as increased heart rate and decreased oxygen, the feeling of calm and resolve that we are left with lasts much longer than the crying itself. There are, of course, studies with contrasting results. In most of these cases the subject had previous experience with anxiety, mood disorders, or has lacked any emotional support. That being said, many Psychologists stand by the belief that crying is a good and important way to express strong emotions, as opposed to bottling them up. As somebody who, up until a couple of years ago, had a very full bottle – I tend to side with the professionals on this.
So why not go for it. Lock yourself in your room and think of the hardest things you’ve ever had to deal with. My experience has been that allowing yourself a solid session of sobbing in private can be incalculable. It is quite refreshing how clear you can feel afterwards. In some cases, I’ve even found it easier to concentrate after expelling some of the negative emotions out of my system. Sometimes the harder you try to fight something, the more intensely you will feel it. My advice – give up the fight!
On a side note: another thing we can learn from children, the brilliant creatures that they are, is finding the root to our problems. If you’re ever feeling confused about your feelings or your circumstances try asking yourself why. But do it in that wonderful way that only kids can – over and over and over again. Start with a simple phrase like: I am unhappy – why? – because I am in debt – why? – because I am bad with money – why? – because I love to spend it – why? – and so on. The key to this game is to be honest (blunt even) with yourself. Seriously, pick any topic and just keep going. I’ll give you a clue, you’re not done until you’re hugging your knees in the corner weeping. It’s a great little trick. Happy crying everybody! 🙂